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The Resource We were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates

We were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates

Label
We were the Mulvaneys
Title
We were the Mulvaneys
Statement of responsibility
by Joyce Carol Oates
Creator
Subject
Language
eng
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • The staggeringly prolific Oates' latest novel is a tragic, compelling tale. She presents in sensuous prose the saga of the fall of the House of Mulvaney. The Mulvaneys, six of them, had been riding high; they lived on a prosperous farm in upstate New York and lived well. Now an adult, Judd, the youngest Mulvaney, recounts the events during which "everything came apart for us and was never again put together in quite the same way." At the core of the family troubles was one grievous incident, the rape of Judd's sister. Consequently, Judd, his father, and one of his brothers commit criminal deeds, and the family eventually loses the farm. Predictably for Oates, her impeccable psychological understanding of violence--its roots and ramifications--lies at the heart of a troubling yet ultimately inspiring story of how far down people can go but, holding on together as a family, rise to the surface again. Her legion of fans will be pleased. ((Reviewed Aug. 1996)) -- Brad Hooper
  • Everyone knows the Mulvaneys: Dad the successful businessman, Mike the football star, Marianne the cheerleader, Patrick the brain, Judd the runt, and Mom dedicated to running the family. But after what sometime narrator Judd calls the events of Valentine's Day 1976, this ideal family falls apart and is not reunited until 1993. Oates's (Will You Always Love Me, LJ 2/1/96) 26th novel explores this disintegration with an eye to the nature of changing relationships and recovering from the fractures that occur. Through vivid imagery of a calm upstate New York landscape that any moment can be transformed by a blinding blizzard into a near-death experience, Oates demonstrates how faith and hope can help us endure. At another level, the process of becoming the Mulvaneys again investigates the philosophical and spiritual aspects of a family's survival and restoration. Highly recommended.--Joshua Cohen, Mid-Hudson Lib. System, Poughkeepsie, NY
  • /* Starred Review */ This wrenching saga, set in the fictional upstate New York town of Mount Ephraim, is one of the protean Oates's most skillful dramatizations of family unhappiness: A big, involving novel on a par with such successes as Them (1969), Bellefleur (1980), and What I Lived For (1994). The story, from the 1950s through the 1980s, tells of roofing contractor Mike Mulvaney, his beautiful and tenderhearted wife Corinne, and their four children: "High school celebrity" and football hero Mike Jr., intellectually gifted Patrick, sweet and simple Marianne, and troubled Judd, the youngest, who narrates, mixing "conjecture" with remembered facts as he recounts both his immediate family's shared experiences and the earlier lives of their parents. The resulting panorama offers both a brilliantly detailed and varied picture of family life and a succession of dramatic set pieces, the majority of which are ingeniously related to "the events of 1976 when everything came apart for us." In that year, inexperienced Marianne either was raped or had consensual sex with a high-school boy she hardly knew--Oates keeps both possibilities teasingly in play--and in the aftermath of her disgrace, Mike Sr. became a helpless belligerent drunk, Patrick subverted his formidable powers of concentration to fantasies of "executing justice," and the once-proud Mulvaneys began their long descent into financial ruin, estrangement, and death. Their harrowing story is leavened by Oates's matchless grasp of middle-class culture, and by a number of superbly orchestrated extended scenes and flashbacks. These are people we recognize, and she makes us care deeply about them. Just when you think Oates has finally run dry, or is mired in mechanical self-repetition, she stuns you with another example of her essential kinship with the classic American realistic novelists. Dreiser would have understood and approved the passion and power of We Were the Mulvaneys. (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 1996)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
047587
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1938-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Oates, Joyce Carol
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Rural life
  • Date rape
  • Family problems
  • Family relationships
  • New York (State)
Label
We were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates
Instantiates
Publication
Note
"A William Abrahams book."
Extent
454 p.
Isbn
9780452282827
Isbn Type
(Pbk.)
Lccn
96017267
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780525942238
  • (OCoLC)34590958
Label
We were the Mulvaneys, by Joyce Carol Oates
Publication
Note
"A William Abrahams book."
Extent
454 p.
Isbn
9780452282827
Isbn Type
(Pbk.)
Lccn
96017267
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780525942238
  • (OCoLC)34590958

Library Locations

    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797

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